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George's Marvellous Medicine

george's marvellous medicine, george's marvellous medicine by roald dahl
George's Marvellous Medicine known as George's Marvelous Medicine in the US is a book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake First published in 1981, it was praised for its humour, but was also criticised for its underdeveloped plot and offbeat ending It is one of Dahl's shorter children's books

Being a medical expert was one of what Dahl called his “dreams of glory”: he had huge respect for doctors and particularly those who pioneered new treatments He dedicated the book to “doctors everywhere” An audio reading of it was released with the actor Richard E Grant narrating


  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Safety concerns
  • 3 Television version
  • 4 References


While 8-year-old George's parents, Mr and Mrs Kranky, are out running errands, George's grandmother bosses him around and bullies him She scares George by saying that she likes to eat insects and he wonders briefly if she's a witch To punish her for her regular abuse, George decides to make a magic medicine to replace her old one He collects a variety of ingredients from around the family farm including deodorant and shampoo from the bathroom, floor polish from the laundry room, horseradish sauce and gin from the kitchen, animal medicines, engine oil and anti-freeze from the garage, and brown paint to mimic the colour of the original medicine

After cooking the ingredients in the kitchen, George gives it as medicine to his grandmother, who grows as tall as the house, bursting through the roof When his grandmother doesn't believe it was George who made her grow so tall, he proves it by feeding the medicine to one of his father's chickens, which grows ten times its original size Mr and Mrs Kranky return home and can't believe their eyes when they see the fattest chicken ever and grandmother George's father grows very excited at the thought of rearing giant animals so that they can end world hunger, and his family will be rich and famous He has George feed the medicine on the rest of the farm's animals, causing them to become giants as well However, his grandmother begins complaining over being ignored and stuck in the roof, so Mr Kranky hires a crane to remove her from the house Her extreme height has her sleeping in the barn for the next few nights

The following morning, Mr Kranky is still excited about George's medicine and announces that he and George shall make gallons of it to sell to farmers around the world George attempts to recreate it, but is unable to remember all the ingredients The second medicine makes a chicken's legs grow extremely long, and the third elongates a chicken's neck to bizarre proportions The fourth has the opposite effect of the first and makes animals shrink George's grandmother, now even more angry she's sleeping in the barn, storms over and starts complaining loudly that she's once again sick of lacking attention She sees the cup of medicine in George's hand and mistakes it for tea Much to his and Mrs Kranky's horror, and Mr Kranky's delight, she drinks the entire cup and shrinks so much that she vanishes completely At first, Mrs Kranky is shocked and confused about the sudden, and very strange, disappearance of her mother, but soon accepts that she was becoming a nuisance anyway George reflects on the recent events, feeling as though they had granted him access to the edge of a magic world

Safety concerns

A popular book for reading to children in primary school, great care was taken by teachers to warn children to not try and recreate the "medicine" at home due to the hazardous nature of some of its ingredients There is a disclaimer warning before the story stating "Warning to Readers: Do not try to make George's Marvellous Medicine yourselves at home It could be dangerous"

Television version

Rik Mayall read this story for the BBC's Jackanory programme, in a widely acclaimed performance


  1. ^ "Roald Dahl on the death of his daughter" 3 February 2015 The Telegraph 

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George's Marvellous Medicine

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